Chinese businesses sign up to London’s £1bn Royal Docks project

15 October 2013

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has today welcomed pledges from ten Chinese businesses who have committed to office space in the much anticipated £1bn Asian Business Port development in London’s Royal Albert Dock. This takes the number of firms currently set to move into the new business park to 57, and is expected to account for around 600,000 sq ft of the development.

The latest ten firms include electrical manufacturers, commercial real-estate, water conservancy, educational training and fashion and textiles firms. Speaking at a meeting with ABP chairman Mr Xu Weiping in Beijing, on day three of his six day trade mission to China, the Mayor also discussed plans to work with the UK government to revamp Enterprise Zone business incentives for the Royal Docks. In 2015 the current benefits are up for review, and the Mayor wants them extended to encourage even more Asian businesses to locate themselves in London’s historic docklands, creating an eastern trading hub in the capital.

The ABP deal with the Mayor, announced in May, will make the Royal Docks London’s third business district and, according to initial projections, be worth £6bn to the UK economy, generating £23m in business rates annually and acting as a catalyst for further development in the area. Despite the global downturn, China’s economy has grown by eight per cent between 2008 and 2012, and is a key market for UK exports. The Mayor’s aim is to reinstate the Royal Docks as a commercial heartland in the capital, creating a strategic trading hub with Asia, and delivering around 20,000 full-time jobs and boosting local employment in Newham by 30 per cent.

The Mayor is exploring a number of measures with the government which would make it easier and cheaper both for Asian businesses to set up and trade internationally from the Royal Docks and for UK companies to export and access Asian and other non-EU markets. These include:

• Making it easier and cheaper to move staff and goods between the Royal Docks and outside the EU

• Changes to the visa process and a dedicated support team to welcome talent to the UK and make it easier to do business with non EU countries

• Tax relief on exports from UK companies located in the Royal Docks

• Fast-tracking UK Intellectual Property applications for patents, copyright, designs and trademarks, which typically take three or four years, for companies with existing IP in China or elsewhere As an existing Enterprise Zone, the area already offers reduced business rates, a simpler planning process, and superfast broadband.

The ABP deal is one of several overseen by the Mayor to deliver a raft of regeneration in the area. The Siemens Crystal Centre, the UK's first urban cable car, Emirates Air Line and new homes at Great Eastern Quay, as well as a £1.5bn new innovation quarter at Silvertown Quays and plans to create the UK’s largest floating village at Royal Victoria Dock are all bringing jobs and homes back to the capital’s waterways. The area is already one of the most connected in the capital, with London City Airport, the Docklands Light Railway, and the cable car on the doorstep. With Crossrail on the way in 2018 it will soon benefit from direct access to central and western London as well.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London’s Royal Docks, historically the throbbing arteries of UK trade and commerce, present a huge opportunity which I’m determined to capitalise on. My vision is to develop a world class international business district, creating local jobs and growth and strengthening trade between east and west. Today, as we welcome the commitment of 10 businesses to the Asian Business Park, we are another step closer to achieving this.”

Today, Mr Xu Weiping also announced plans for ABP to host a unique trade event to link suppliers and buyers from Britain and China at London’s Excel Centre next summer. Several hundred Chinese businesses will be invited to demonstrate their products in a workshop style environment. Already popular in China this would be a first event of its kind and scale in London.

Chairman of ABP, Mr Xu Weiping, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Mayor of London to China. We have worked closely together to make the £1bn Royal Albert Dock development a reality. Following discussions in London a month ago and the announcement of our new Global Headquarters, I am very pleased the Mayor is in Beijing to meet businesses here and encourage them to make their home in the Royal Docks.”

Last month Mr Xu also announced he would be locating his new ABP Global headquarters in London, and the company is now recruiting for senior staff including a Global CEO.

Notes to editors

• Today 10 firms signed up to the Asian Business Park in London’s Royal Albert Dock. They are:

Eve Fashion Group - www.evefashion.com

Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Co, Ltd - www.tbea.com.cn

SEC International Fashion Brand Management & Consultation Co, Ltd

China JiYun Group - www.chinajiyun.com China Water Group - www.chinawatergroup.com.cn

China Prospect Education - www.ixue.cn

The sportswindow culture communication co, LTD - www.sportswindow.com.cn

Beijing Capital Group Co, Ltd - www.capitalgroup.com.cn

Alphatex Knitting Co.,Ltd - www.alphatex.net.cn

Guangyao Oriental Group - www.gydf.com.cn

• The Royal Docks lies within the stretch of land running from Stratford down the River Lea to the Thames, an ‘arc of opportunity’ with £22 billion of development potential. It is home to ExCeL, the international exhibition and convention centre and London City Airport. The Mayors of London and the London Borough of Newham have set out a joint vision to develop the Royal Docks.

• As part of the ABP/GLA development agreement 47 companies had already signed intentions to purchase office space in the Asian Business Park.

• The Royal Docks Enterprise Zone already has some of the best transport links in the capital, with direct access to central and western London via the new Crossrail station coming in 2018. It also benefits from close proximity to the University of East London and City Airport, providing direct links to Europe’s key business destinations.

• ABP (London) will lead the development of the 35-acre Royal Albert Dock site, with UK partner Stanhope acting as development manager. The development will be made up of 2.5 million square feet of office space not including other supporting uses including leisure, retail and serviced apartments, to ensure that this a vibrant 24/7 location. Subject to planning permission, the first phase of minimum 600,000 square feet of development is due to open in 2017 with work on the site targeted to be completed by 2021/22.

• ABP is an experienced and successful developer in China, with a track record of investing in and transforming large areas in need of regeneration. ABP Beijing, for example, is a completed 15 million square foot development, home to around 50,000 employees of the businesses based there. It consists of 400 large office buildings of which many are more than 15 storeys high and includes apartments, shops, restaurants, leisure facilities and a hotel (with Mayan cultural artefacts). Over 95 per cent of the buildings have been sold. To find out more visit www.abp-london.co.uk

 • The Royal Docks was granted Enterprise Zone status from April 2012 in recognition of its strategic importance.

1. 50ha rates relief (if in area by April 2015)

2. Enhanced Capital Allowances at RAD (up to April 2017) – good for capital intense industry e.g. biotech

3. Simplified planning – GLA/LBN/TfL/Developer Project Planning Performance Agreement

4. Broadband – part of successful £25m Urban Broadband Fund bid (up to 1gb/ps if there is demand)

5. Business rate uplift retention for 25 years

The visit to China is part of a series of trips that the Mayor is undertaking to key overseas markets, including the Gulf region and India, both of which he visited in the last 12 months. The aim of the visits is to attract foreign investment, promote export, create jobs in the capital ensuring London’s status as a leading global city, boosting cultural ties and building on the huge exposure London received as a result of hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Since the late 1970s China has experienced a strong period of rapid, sustained economic growth – averaging almost 10% a year over the last 30 years. In 2010 the country overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest economy, behind the United States. It is expected to become the world largest goods importer by 2014. London is the number one capital city for Chinese investment outside Asia over the last decade. It is the leading European capital for Chinese investment, and the world leader for corporate subsidiary HQs outside their own nation. In 2012, Chinese investment in Britain rose to $4billion, up 80% from 2011. London attracts 60% of all FDI projects from China into the UK. London also accounted for 80 per cent of all Chinese property investment in Europe over the past five years.

More Chinese tourists visited London than ever before last year – 104,000. That is up 38% from 2011 and up 100% since 2009. Visitors spent £140 million, up 60% from 2011, and up 150% since 2009. The number of Chinese people studying in London is also rising. It reached a record 15,000 last year, up by 12% from the year before. China remains London’s #1 market for international students, with numbers rising by 149% over the past 5 years. London has a bigger concentration of elite universities than any other major global city.

The Mayoral trips are supported by his promotional organisation London & Partners. London & Partners is the official promotional organisation for London. Our company attracts and delivers value to business, students and visitors. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and a network of commercial partners. Please visit www.londonandpartners.com for more information.